tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC July 23, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
month that she's had the job. the white house largely will be relying on the president's twitter feed as he's in the white house in the morning and then travels to west virginia tomorrow evening for fundraisers. >> i'm curious to know what the over/under is for the president tweeting tomorrow. >> a lot. >> always a pleasure. thank you both. thank you for watching this hour of msnbc live. right now more news with a colleague morgan radford. >> not a end. >> friend, colleague, everything. >> good morning. i'm morgan radford here at msnbc world headquarters right here in new york city. craig melvin is on assignment today. less than the 24 hours to go before robert mueller takes the hot seat on capitol hill. what's at stake for democrats and republicans as they prepare for the most anticipated testimony in years. plus, president trump set to speak at a summit fortin age te just minutes from now. we'll talk about how the white house is gearing up for mueller to take the stand.
ahead of next week's second presidential debate, joe biden unveils his particular for the criminal justice system. but it will be enough to stave off his attacks on the 1994 crime bill? we begin with what the world has been waiting for for two years. dozens of members of congress are preparing for tomorrow morning when former special counsel robert mueller will testify before two house committees. the judiciary gets the first crack at 8:30 a.m. and then the intelligence committee will pick up the questioning at noon. but, what will we hear from the man who has been famously tight lipped for the past two years in the justice department sent mueller a letter just yesterday saying in part any testimony must rhode island remaare you m bound dri boundaries of your report. -- attorney work product and presidential communications privileges. but what does all of that mean?
with less than 24 hours to go until mueller's testimony, let's break it down with phil rucker, white house bureau chief for the "washington post." betsy woodruff, tom due bree, former deputy assistant attorney, and sara, and clint watts right here with me, and nbc news correspondent ken dilanian who covers national security for us here. ken, let's start with you. let's talk about the expectations. because i want to go to something that you reported earlier. you said that some senior democrats acknowledge that wednesday's hearings are unlikely to significantly change public opinion about trump let alone push more house members down the path towards supporting impeachment. what are the realistic expectations we should have for tomorrow? >> democrats would love for this to be a transformative moment that really moves the needle on public opinion about donald trump. but realistically they don't expect that to happen because people are baked in in their views of the mueller report on one side. and then there's a whole swath
of americans who haven't heard anything about the mueller report. our own polls show that at one point more than half of the american public had not even heard a single thing about the mueller report. >> didn't know what it was. >> exactly. not even heard news coverage, now less than 10% has read it. what democrats are hoping is that even if mueller is super conservative and will only read elements of his report, that could still be powerful for them because they can reach a percentage of swing voters who haven't heard anything about this and will hear some very disturbing things, that donald trump's campaign cooperated, accepted information from the russian government and that they tried to cover it up even though they weren't charged or adjudicated guilty of crimes. >> which both committees have their work cut out for them tomorrow. i want to turn to you, phil, because it sounds like the president may or may not watch tomorrow's proceedings. here's part of what he said just yesterday. take a listen. >> i'm not going to be watching, probably, maybe i'll see a little bit of it. i'm not going to be watching mueller because you can't take
all those bites out of the apple. we had no collusion, no obstruction, we had no nothing. we had a total no collusion finding. the democrats were devastated by it. >> okay. so the president knows tv. he says he's not going to watch it. we've seen him tweet, according to television in the past. so how concerned is the white house, phil, about the theater of all of this, the tv production of tomorrow's >> yeah, morgan, it's a pretty safe bet that the president's going to be watching at least those first few hours of the testimony. he watches more television than most of the people who work that the network. he's going to be dictating the public relations response, i think, largely himself. he'll sort of have a feel for how -- for how the hearing's going, for how damaging it might be for him and the extent to which he feels like he wants to push back. certainly his advisers and his lawyers this week are trying to craft some talking points trying to put together some sort of a
plan. but as happens so often in this white house, the plan is really dictated by the president's gut and by what he wants to put out on twitter and what he wants to tell reporters. so i would pay attention to him as opposed to any sort of step-by-step crisis management plan that comes together. >> well, phil, it's interesting that you talk about those talking points and his gut, because there's also the reality of this letter. tom, i want to turn to you because the hus judiciary committee chairman asked about the impact of that doj letter on mueller's testimony. listen to this. >> i think it's incredibly arrogant of the department to try to instruct him as to what to say. >> you don't think she have any authority to instruct him in that way. must he comply with that letter? >> no, he does not have to comply with that letter. he doesn't work for them. and that letter asks things that are beyond the power of the -- of the agency to ask, even if he still worked for them. >> so, tom, the question here is the concept of authority. what is your take on the
chairman's comments? does the doj letter have any real impact? >> i don't think it's going to have much of a practical impact. for one thing, as we all know, mueller has said very publicly that he's not going to go beyond his written report. and so in that sense doj's letter is really more belt and suspenders. they're basically saying we want you to adhere to the promise you previously made. the other thing to keep in mind is it's not as though a doj or white house lawyer is going to be sitting next to bob mueller at the hearing. so even if the white house or doj felt that mueller was treading into an area where he shouldn't go, they're powerless to enforce it at the time because they're not going to physically be there at the hearing to lodge an objection. >> so when it comes to tomorrow, then, sara, we heard ken talk about the democratic expectations. but what's the goal for the republican mobs of those house committees? does that five-minute format and alternating questioners work in their favor? >> yeah. the republicans want this to be the last episode of the mueller/russia investigation. and so you're going to see them
trying to eat up the clock and basically get out of this with the no -- the no collusion, total exoneration narrative intact. i actually think ear going you'o see them go on offense. they're going to put mueller on trial a little bit because they want to walk out of there with sound bites they can release into the conservative ecosystem that feeds into their narrative. i think you'll hear a lot about page and strzok and a lot of things that the republicans like to talk about this whole time. it's like we're living in two different media unversus and i think the question will underscore how we live in almost two different political universes. >> speaking of that, you talk about the strategy of going on offense. but, betsy, there does appear to be a lot riding on these hearings for both parties. you wrote in a recent report that the impeachment of president trump in his first term of live and die based on what happens on wednesday. is there a sense of fore boding,
betsy, on capital? >> sure thing. and that republican aide for a member of the house judiciary committee told me yid, republicans on that committee as well as the house intelligence committee very much see this moment as a crucial one. they believe that if tomorrow is -- if it's a bombshell, if it changes public opinion on the president's relationship with the russian government, that it could dramatically rachet up pressure on speaker nancy pelosi to talk talking about impeachment more seriously and it could result in more democratic members of congress coming out in favor impeachment. so for republicans they're thinking not just about the short game, all thof course the short game is always important. but also more importantly about what this means for what could be a defining moment of trump's presidency. whether or not be this results in a dramatically heightened push for impeachment among their democratic colleagues. >> you talk about this appreciate you're on pa laelosi
what's interesting is this pressure on him. what's it like inside that room, zplint what type of pressure is mueller going to be facing tomorrow? >> it will be interesting to watch because it's not like any other hearing. what i've gone for the most part with the exception of one time, it's pretty civil. and everything that you see in terms of partisanship dies down during questioning? >> in the room? >> yeah. it seems very, you know, reserved, like adult. i don't think that will be the case, you know, tomorrow. maybe it will be. but it will be interesting to see how these congressmen play out their game. i've seen some of the republican comments already. jim jordan talking about, oh, we need to know when you knew there was no collision, why didn't you tell us. that actually say very dangerous line of questions for someone like mueller? >> why. >> because he's smarter and knows the facts and he could turn around and go, well, because the attorney general was fired and then you mutt in another replacement and then
another attorney general so we could have wrapped it up a long time ago but you drug it out that. could backfire because i often find that special counsel mueller is going to be much smarter. he's really well trained. he's done this many times. and, if a silly question like that gets floated out there, that can turn the tables on them and open up something on those congressmen if they don't think through what they're asking. >> what when it comes to that t why do you think the gloves are going to come off in this particular hearing? >> i think both sides have an outcome they want to achieve. for example, the last time went on i was talking about deep fakes. people wanted to know about deep fakes. it's serious. there was some weird things thrown into the conversation at times that didn't make sense. but for most witnesses that are going in there, you're going to talk about an issue. this judiciary hearing committee in the house has been seen from the very beginning as partisan. when i went to the senate intel commit tie i felt very good
about ow democracur democracy. it seemed everyone was there for the right reasons and they wanted a good outcome for the country. tomorrow i think everyone tlaes f else is there for their own outcome. >> tom, much of this will be on section 2 of the special counsel's report where he outlines ten instances of possible obstruction of justice. this ranges from everything from the president's chons to the russia inquiry and to his actions against flynn, manafort, and several other witnesses. the big picture here, how would you approach just the sheer number of incidents listed here? would you drill in one or look at the totality of it? >> well, i think the democrats face a fundamental strategic choice here. one is they can ask bob mueller to recite the greatest hits. they can pick and choose, drill down a bit and get mueller to say in his own words exactly what he found in the hope that will shift public opinion. the other thing the democrats could do alternatively would be
to try to tease out more from mueller as to what mueller himself thought, whether he thought that the president may have crossed the line into criminal misconduct but was prohibited from saying so because of his doj restrictions. i suspect the democrats would be better advised to take the former roo former route, to get mueller to tell the stories about what he found in the report, and hope people will see this for the first time and start thinking about the report as a whole. >> you talk about building this narrative, getting inside mueller's head and what he was thinking. betsy, i want to play a portion of robert mueller's may 29th statement. take a listen to this. >> this a second volume the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president. and as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. we did not, however, make a
determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. under longstanding department policy, a present president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. that is unconstitutional. charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. >> so, betsy, break all of that down for us. where are the boundaries? is there a realistic expectation from committee members that mueller will, in fact, go further than that statement we just saw? >> what mueller said in that statement through a little bit of legalese is that him, himself, and his investigators were not confident that president trump was innocent of potential obstruction of justice. so at the same time, of course, what he said there is that he wasn't able to do the thought experiment of whether or not the president could be charged with obstruction of justice because of a longstanding doj policy that blocks the indictment of a president. so this is something that you can expect with a high degree of
confidence democrats to try to hammer tomorrow that the hearing. they're going to want to hear more. they'll probably try to get mueller to speculate as to whether or not if that doj rule didn't exist he would have charged the president. and it's extremely unlikely that mueller is going to play ball with any invitations like that from democrats that he engage in that kind of speculation. mueller is likely to say, the report speaks for itself and weap we were not convinced yard that the president was innocent. >> you talk about that speculation. ken, you're shaking your head. why? >> she's right. that's what frustrating about robert mueller's position for democrats. he said i didn't charge the president, he can't even say i think he committed a crime. he investigated for two years. that's the conundrum and why it's not break through to the public. robert mueller didn't say it's an open and shut case and he's not going to say that tomorrow. >> but it's that question that we get hung up open.
what is the public going to think? is this about that path entry you were talking about before? sara, wabt to pull up this poll that was taken a few months ago. it found that 29% of people polled believe that the mueller report cleared the president while 49% believe he was not cleared. 29% remained unsure. what has to happen to change those numbers? >> democrats have got to get mueller to say that if but for the dol opinion that trump would have been charged. if anybody else would have committed those types of obstruction of justice he would be going to jail. it's got to be an earth shattering politically sort of earthquake to really kind of shake people out of their stupor. i talked to republicans all the time. you saw that clip at that justin amash rally in michigan where you have people saying oh, i had no idea that anything negative was even in there because the president has a massive mega phone that he has used
effectively. and bill barr's framing of the report have both really led people to believe, people who aren't paying a ton of attention, that there was a total exoneration. and so that's what republicans are going to try to do tomorrow is basically just deny democrats that moment, that break-through moment. because to they feel like they can do that, they'll feel like they'll have won. and they probably will have. >> this mega phone you describe, it's been a very distracting mega phone. clint, this investigation was all about russian interference. is that what this is going to be about tomorrow or is this going to be an attack on mueller? >> i think it's already been stated, right, which part of we doing? one or two? we're starting off with part two, which is saying this is really about political partisanship, right? if it was about policy, about preventing influence on next election, we would start with part one. that's where this whole thing began. but think it's quite interesting they know all eyeballs are going to be there at 8:30 when it kicks off and what do they want to talk about?
they want to talk about was the president obstructing justice? they chose that. and part one is how do we prevent this foreign influence from happening again? and we've done nothing. election integrity, marc warner -- or congressman's senator warner's rules about contacting the fbi, the president says maybe i'd contact the fbi, mooib maybe not. so so it sounds like we're going to do this all over again for four more years maybe. we've got rudy giuliani maybe having a backdoor with ucrab yan officials to get dirt for 2020. nog's change and we' nothing's changed and we're still talk about it. best thing you're telling the world is go in there and mess with their elections and they'll fight each other for four years and they won't do anything to you. >> i hope that's not the message. we will be glued to the television whether the president is or is not for his statements. all of you, thank you so much
for joining us today. and make sure you're with us for msnbc's special coverage of robert mueller's long-awaited testimony anchored by brian williams and nicole wallace tomorrow starting at 8:30 a.m. eastern right here on msnbc. and coming up, joe biden unveils a wide-ranging criminal justice reform plan, but is it enough to court one of his most important demographics? plus a rare and exclusive interview with one of the migrant children held at a uma border station. he describes 11 days packed into a cell hungry and 30s did i. it thurs thirsty. it's all right here on msnbc. thurs thirsty. it's all right here on msnbc en defy the laws of human nature,at the summer of audi sales event.
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needs? >> why didn't you subpoena president trump? former vice president joe biden is back on the campaign trail today unveiling his comprehensive new criminal justice reform plan. he's set to discuss the details with multiple events in new orleans this afternoon as he faces more scrutiny for his role in helping craft the 1994 crime bill now widely associated with mass incarceration. his new plan would reverse key parts of that very bill. joining us now to take a closer look, nbc news political reporter and "washington post" reporter eugene scott. gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us. mike, let's start with you. what are the key aspects of biden's plan? >> in terms of rolling out this new plan, biden campaign advisers are saying this is all about putting justice back in
the criminal justice system. and the major goals here are reducing our prison population and also ending some of the racial disparities within it. there's a lot of details. $20 billion for federal grants encouraging cities and states to find ways to shift from incarceration to crime prevention. it would end mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and redirect them into drug courts outside the prison system. decriminalizing marijuana as well. there's also obviously a lot here hang over the 90 teen 94 crime bill which biden has in the past himself called the biden crime bill. on the campaign trail he's been talking about some of these proposals for weeks but it's going to be talking about it today in louisiana, new orleans, with the former chair of the black caucus and somebody who worked on president trump with prison reform. he's set to have speeches later this week so this is squarely zeroing in on that
african-american vote which has been a bedrock for joe biden so far. >> you talk about these details, marijuana, mandatory minimums, it's important you mention this is all about decreasing these racial disparities. but give us the big picture, eugene. because the timing of all this i find interesting. he's set to speak at the naacp convention and then next week is the second round of debates in detroit and he'll share the stage with kamala harris, cory booker, and they have both been very critical of his role in the crime bill. really, eugene, is his new bill enough to run interference and blunt some of that scrutiny that he's already facing? >> well, he certainly hopes so. we do know that biden has been leading with black voters since launching his campaign. but following the last debate after his interaction with kamala harris related to his positions on busing in the 1970s, we've seen harris and even warren and some other candidates in a way at some of his black support.
so biden knows if he wants to win the nomination, he did need black voterser. has black older voters, they do support him and very often see the world the way he did and kind of can remember what things looked like in 1994. but is he struggling a bit with more millennial voters, more progressive voters and they want to see him take more responsibility for the role he played in creating the prison industrial complex and fixing that. so i think that's what he's hope doing a bit. >> but my question, eugene, is this it? when you talk about taking responsibility, and that's what those younger voters want to see, what does that responsibility look like and is the plan that mike just laid out enough to court those younger voters? >> well, it's certainly getting at some of the issues they want. i mean, the eradication of the death penalty, seeing the disparities between racist on incarceration related to drug offenses, he addresses that. some support for community policing programs, it appears he's been listening to his advisers and listening to voters who say this is what these younger black voters and
progressives want. so could that bring some of them over and more willing to vote for him in the event he's the nom northeast general election, he's hoping and it appears that it could be. but we won't know until actually all of that plays out. >> i want to look at this in context of those other democratic contenders hot how what's been defending his actions in the wake of this crime bill, criticism? what's his strategy here? >> joe biden is somebody who's very proud of his record and he's been trying to turn the conversation to the future. it was interesting you remember a few weeks ago in south carolina the former vice president made that popping for his comments about working with segregationist senators in the past. also in that speech from was a broader defense of the crime bill. let's look at how presented this in sumpter, south carolina, a few weeks ago. >> it worked in some areas, but it failed in others. like every major change, you go back and you make it better from social security on, it gets improved. the violent crime rate was cut
in half in america, but, it was opposed by republicans. people like mitch mcconnell, not because they thought it was too tough, because they thought it was too soft. >> what's interesting, we already have one of biden's rivals and somebody he's going to be sharing to the debate stage responding to that. cory booker says it's not enough to tell us what you're going to do for our communities, show us what you've done for the last 40 years. clearly biden's past is something that his rivals are planning to make an issue on the debate stage next week in zbloit that's right. senators harris and booker are holding his feet to the fire and we'll see what they do on that debate stage. thank you so much, gentlemen, for joining us. he's the only american that was at the infamous trump tower meeting not talking with robert mueller about the russia probe. so why didn't the special counsel interview the president's son donald junior? stay with us. [ alarm beeping ]
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expect to hear this tomorrow. why was donald trump jr. the only american attendee of that infamous trump tower meeting not questioned by mueller's investigation? i'm joined by josh gers seen it, a senior legal affairs writer for "politico." carol, let's start with you. talk us through your reporting. how much of a focus will be on the president's son tomorrow? >> well, what we know is that the trump tower meeting in july -- in june of 2016 was the key focus of the investigation into whether there was any coordination between associates of donald trump and the russian government to influence the election. and donald trump jr. was the trump associate who was contacted by russians to set up this meeting. there are -- had this is not just some piece of the investigation where one person says one thing and another says another. there are emails showing that there was an offer of dirt on
hillary clinton and donald trump jr. responding saying that he would love it and accept that. and then there's the meeting that happened and donald trump jr.'s the only trump associate who wasn't interviewed. so when asking folks why that is, our sources say there's one two of reasons. one ask that investigators didn't think he was important as a witness. they say that's just impossible that he is important and that he's probably the most important person because he was organizing the meeting. and the second reason would be that he invoked his fifth amendment rights. and we asked donald trump jr.'s lawyer whether he had invoked his fifth amendment rights and he said that he declined to comment on that. but we do know from page 177 of the mueller report that trump junior was declined to, quote, voluntarily speak with investigators. and that strongly suggests that there was some sort of ask for him to do so. >> josh, i want you to jump in
there about that page 117, it does say, as you quoted, he declined to be voluntarily interviewed by the office. but the interesting piece i find about that is that the next two lines are then redacted. so, josh, does that imply that the president's son took the fifth but also what questions do those redactions prompt for the reader? >> yeah think there it does imply that there was some effort get him to testify and he probably declined. whether he might have been issued a grand jury subpoena is unclear. it seems like at most times mueller was trying to do this investigation without going through the grand jury in part because he knew his report was likely to be released in some form eventually. and the more of this that was done through the grand jrt more redactions like that you'll see. i think the real question here is what light will mueller be willing to shed on this to snick he said he's going to strict -- hugh pretty closely to his report, and so if things are blacked out in the report, is he
going to feel comfortable discussing them in public? particularly here where you are talking about someone who is ultimately a private individual. donald trump jr., son of the president, obviously a key figure in the trump campaign but not an official figure in the u.s. government. >> which is interesting because, carol and josh, you both agree this has strong implication that he took the fifth which is doubly interesting. because when he was running for office, then candidate donald trump, he railed against pleading the fifth. i don't know if you remember back in his 2016 race against hillary clinton, he had a lot of things to say. in fact, let's pull up that clip. >> so there are five people taking the fifth amendment. like you see on the mob, right? you see the mob take the fifth. if you're innocent, why are you taking the fifth amendment? >> if you're innocent, why are you taking the fifth amendment? so, carol, this is a president who has historically doubled
down even when he's facing criticism. is he prepared to backpedal here on behalf of his son? >> well, you know, chuck todd asked president trump if his son had been subpoenaed? and the president said, you know, ask -- you'll have to ask my son, i don't know. and we did and he declined to answer. and i think that clip suggests perhaps why, you know, trump junior may not want to be out there admitting that he did -- if he did invoke his fifth amendment rights because his father's very much on record saying you only do that if you're guilty. however, we also know that president trump and others around him have a long history of ignoring the past, including if there is tapes, and, you know, and saying something differently currently that completely contradicts that. >> right. >> so we don't really know. but we do know, you know, that the chairman of the house intelligence committee, adam schiff on the weekend in an
interview with our kristen welker said he's very interested in the trump tower meeting. he singled it out as the kind of evidence that he intends to press mueller on. and so it will be very interesting to see how that plays out tomorrow. >> i want to switch gears here for a moment before we go because, josh, your reporting this week on a different trump ally or a former trump ally, which is michael flynn. he did not take the stand in the case against his ex-business partner, but did he plead guilty and gave mueller statements about contact with russia. so how does he play into the mueller testimony that we're about to hear tomorrow? >> well, what's fascinating is that when in the view of prosecutors needs to be backing away from his plea deal. he initially seemed to admit that he had submitted some false information to the justice department and now his defense team, his new defense team, a new set of lawyers who are much more hostile to mueller are taking a different stand. so you mayical s not only see f
covered in the testimony tomorrow, but a lot of the other spinoff investigations that are still going forward at least covered in the questions that member of congress want to ask. there's still rather stone's trial on tap. there's a greg trial on tap. and michael flynn is hanging out there because he has not been sentenced yet and is he a very key figure, perhaps the most key figure in the trump orbit who actually pled plguilty to a cri in this investigation. >> a key figure we hope to learn a little bit more about tomorrow. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, morgan. >> thanks, morgan. and coming up, an nbc news exclusive report. a young migrant teen talks about what he calls unlivable conditions at a border facility where he was held. plus, turn texas blue. a field of experienced candidates vie to seat john cornyn is stepping put they hope
to become the state's first black u.s. senator. he joins me next. state's first black u.s. senator he joins me next moving into our new apartment. why don't we just ask geico for help with renters insurance? i didn't know geico helps with renters insurance. yeah, and we could save a bunch too. antonio! fetch computer! antonio? i'll get it. get to know geico and see how much you could save on renters insurance.
president trump is speaking at a turning point usa's teen student action sum knit washington, d.c. he started speaking at 11:34 and now he's talking about rashida tlaib. let's take a listen. >> i've got more on aoc. aoc. aoc. but it's -- you know, what's going on with that party having to embrace them and your other
friend from an incredible state, right? a state that i'm going to win, minnesota, you know that one, right? and you know why i'm going win the state? because of her. i almost wondered last time we came with justa about a point. because minnesota's a very hard one for a republican to win bet almost won it. i want god there one more time. i said i'm telling you we're going to win minnesota. you know who thought i was going to win minnesota? you know who thought ways going to win michigan, wisconsin, and north carolina? bill clinton. he told people the one you don't want to run against is trump. he they said why? no, that's good. no, no, you don't. i actually knew him pretty well. we got along pretty well until i decided to run for office. we got along. but they didn't want to listen to him. but he was the only one with the instinct the rest didn't have. so he came back and he said, you
know he's doing very well in michigan, you could have a problem. they said, no, don't worry about michigan, we haven't lost michigan in decades. and he came back, he said, you know, he was in wisconsin or something, but he said, these years that i'm doing well in wisconsin. they said forget it. a republican can't win wisconsin. and then we won wisconsin. and then came back -- [ cheers and applause ] >> he came back -- and i say that with a certain all-time affection because i had a very good relationship with him before doing this. you know, it's a little harder to have a good relationship. but said, you don't want to run against trump. don't run against trump. they said, no, no, that's okay, we like that. remember president obama? he will not win. he will not win, okay. he goes, liar. yeah, hey, did obama get a pinocchio? that's right, obama said will not win, he will not be your president. the anger was unbelievable.
you know what? he's right. he was a liar. did you give obama a pinocchio, "washington post"? he said he will not win. [ cheers and applause ] >> these papers. these papers are so bad. so yesterday we had a story in one of the papers that i thought was good but they're really not. you know when you analyze, there's almost not too many of them that are -- >> so there is president trump speaking at this conference to teenagers. and back with me now is "washington post" political reporter eugene scott as well as sara longwell, publisher ever the bulwark.com. sara, what did you think of the president's comments just now, especially when he was referencing the squad? >> yeah, i think what's tough for me as a person who's been a lifelong republican is to watch the president sort of providing this kind of leadership or example to young teenagers. to think that his attacks on these congresswomen is what he's
kind of decided to focus on for 16, 17, 18-year-olds, that that's the example of this republican party, i find it sad and i just -- when i was a young person i could totally see myself going to something like this, but the people who would have been talking to me, they would have been talking about ideas. they would have been talking about values. they would have been celebrating what the republican party stood for and is about. i'm listening to him just talk about listen to how great i am, do this whole cult of personality thing and then attack again in some of these sort of vicious and gross ways these women of color. and it's just terrible that this is the example we're setting for the young people that could be members of our party. >> it's also a bit puzzling because those attacks began on twitter while his wife is leading this anticyberbullying campaign. so when you talk about the example this is setting for young people, eugene have this kind of pomp work something because you heard him say he's
not the one to run against trump. basically no one can beat me. is this kind of bro vlad dpoe d bravado going to work at the polls? >> it's working with his bases. we know after he sent those initial tweets his approval ratings with republican increased about 5%. whether or not he's going to be able to bring on new people, swing voters, independent, the groups that helped him win 2016, doesn't seem likely. but he's not really focused on that. he's made it very clear that his focus will be on turning out the base. not bringing on new people. and that's what he's pretty much doubled down to do. it's very interesting seeing him communicate what he has in the past week or so to those young people doubling down. he used some language that those kids would have gotten suspended from school over had they used it. it's just fascinating. i don't know if that's his millennial outreach plan. but we do know the young voters are disproportionately not
likely to vote against trump no matter what he says. >> thank you so much for staying with us. and up next, our exclusive interview with a migrant teenager who lived in one of those deplorable detention facilities. stay with us on msnbc. facilities stay with us on msnbc. who they're texting with, all of that. it's a win for all of us. (vo) the network more people rely on, gives you more. like plans families can mix and match, including the new just kids plan. that's verizon.
we've heard from lawyers and government workers about the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions of children being held at border patrol stations along the mexican border. now in an nbc news exclusive we're hearing from a child held inside one of those facilities. nbc's julia ainslie sat down with aber in, a 17-year-old guatemala boy who spent 11 days in the crowded cell at the yuma station. the children rarely speak to the media for fear of being deported. julia, how did abner describe his experience inside that facility? >> in a lot of ways what he described is exactly what we heard in 30 reports that jacob sober o soboroff went through two weeks ago, about the overcrowding, not being able to sit down, not being given a shower. but he got into extreme hunger.
he said he was only fed at 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and sometimes i'd have to give his food to a younger child because as an older boy cowithstand the hunger. he talked about being thirsty and not being given a cup. he had to use his hands to drink out of a sink in his cell. what he said to sleep wing was very interesting. listen to what he said about his sleeping conditions. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so you see that what he's
saying about the children, the younger children had to be protected. again, one of the reasons he would have given them their food and allowed them to lie down, because they said when the younger children cried, the guards would get angry and yell at them. now, we have reached out to dhs, department of homeland security and customs and border protection, about this and here's what they had to say here. they said that the claims are inconsistent with cbp's records corresponding with the juvenile migrant's time in custody from may 25th to june 5th. border protection and office of resettlement were completed the day following his apprehension on may 27th and he remained in cbp's custody until orr's placement was provided on june 5th. they're saying they're inconsistent, but they say it is important to note that cbp takes all reports of employee misconduct seriously and the juvenile's allegation of mistreatment have been referred to cbp's office of responsibility. >> julia, it's important to hear
those statements, but it's so important to hear their voices. hearing him say [ speaking foreign language ] spending the night without sleeping and [ speaking foreign language ] just, you know, fighting sleep, that's a terrible thing to hear from a child. julia an julia ansly, thank you so much. this year marks a quarter of a century since a democrat has held a statewide office in texas and the list of candidates hoping to change that got a little bit longer. royce west just announced his bid to unseat senator john cornyn. he enters an already crowded primary field that now includes at least three other candidates hoping to pull off the democratic dream. it's a dream that beto o'rourke came close to grabbing but failed to deliver back in 2018 despite a near record amount of campaign cash. and really unprecedented national attention. royce west joins me now. state senator west, just in terms of historical context, testimony really hasn't gone blue since the late anne
richards governed the state, and that was 25 years ago. how can you and how can democrats build a winning coalition there? what will be different? >> well, morgan, thank you very much. what will be different is this. when you begin to look at beto o'rourke's election, it was not a political ab doreration, it was part of a trend. you correctly said that was historic turnouts during a midterm election. you can imagine what it's going to be doing the general election. we believe that there will be democrats, independents, and also republicans that will begin to look at the democratic ticket and look for someone that's moderate to left that they can support, and i'm that person. >> when you say you're that person, you know, we just saw this happen with beto o'rourke when he raised more of the outside campaign cash than any senate race in u.s. history when the that was when he was challenging ted cruz. if he raised $80 million but still fell three points shy of a win, what makes you think this year in this race you can be different? >> i think it's a senate --
effect. the political senate sticky fact. what that means is there will be democrats for the first time in a long time running for a lot of statewide offices this time around. and then obviously we're going to have a very contentious presidential election that will needless to say bring people out that don't normally turn out in midterm elections. >> it's interesting because, you know, before you can face senator cornyn you've also got face what you just called a contentious field. but also you have your own crowded field of democratic challengers. >> that's right. >> who are -- right, they're well-known names there in texas. we have a list of them here on the screen. are you at all worried that those people on the screen right now could hurt your party's chances of taking back the seat? >> well, it kind of depends. i don't really understand your question. this is what i will say. we have some fine individuals that are running for the nomination, the democratic nomination, and what i'm saying is, is that out of 12 democratic senators and the state senate, 11 of them are supporting me and
out of 67 house members, 47 are supporting me. and so i have that broad cross state support, black, hispanic, african american, you name it. we're going to try to use that particular infrastructure in order to get my message out and hopefully become the nominee for the democratic party. >> you talk about your wide base of support, especially across racial and ethnic lines. i want to get your thoughts or something we just heard president trump say momentarily when he was speaking to some teens. he doubled down on the attacks against the so-called squad. i'm sure you're familiar with the controversy surrounding those go back remarks. senator cornyn waited 36 hours to respond to that and when he did he called the remarks a mistake and you forced error later telling palo altoco that he didn't think the president was racist. what do you think of that response and will cornyn's response have any impact on those texas voters? >> this is what i'll say. i can't sit here and just kind
of debate what trump is -- has done or has not done. i know that part of what i see he has done thus far is that he has frankly as i guess a media term weaponized race as a part of what he's been doing from charlottesville all the way through. and then i think he's been preoccupied with trying to do away with everything that president barack obama has done for this particular country. and that's what he's been preoccupied with. so my deal is i'll be focusing on healthcare. i'll be focussing on criminal justice reform and a whole litany other issues, women's rights issues that have been kind of in the bull's eye of this president. so those are the things that i'm going to be doing as opposed to worrying about what president trump is doing. >> all right. texas state
senator royce west, thank you so much for joining us. >> my pleasure. and some of president trump's supporters are not happy about a deal he made with democrats to raise federal spending and allow the government to keep bow rowing
money to pay its bills. fox news host laura ingram responded to his tweet announcing the agreement, quote, not acceptable. spending out the wazoo. the only thing that began to reduce the budget deficit was the 2013 see quester spending caps. the deal would suspend then debt limit through the end of july in 2020 and then increase spending on domestic and military programs. lawmakers are expected to approve it before they leave for their august recess. moments from now, the senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of mark esper as the next secretary of defense. he's expected to be confirmed overwhelmingly. it's been 204 days since there's been confirmed
defense chief. meanwhile, another vote we're anticipating, the september 11th victims' compensation fund. after months of notion negotiating, congressional testimony from ailing first responders and their most vocal advocate, comedian john steward,
the senate is poised to vote this afternoon. the bill with 73 cosponsors is expected to pass easily. that wraps up things for this hour of msnbc live. i'm morgan radford. thank you so much for joining us. andrea mitchell reports starts right now. >> thank you to morgan radford. and right now on andrea mitchell reports, more is coming. in a late night letter, the justice department tries to rein in what the former special counsel can say in his testimony before congress tomorrow. as the president tries to down-play expectations. >> the report was written, it said no collusion. the report was written, and the attorney general based on the report was easily able to find there was no obstruction. there's no nothing. they're wasting their time. hey, big spenders, the white house and congressional leaders agree to a two-year budget deal raising the debt ceiling until after the 2020 election and putting america $22io